Behavioral Health Crisis Services
988 is the universal telephone number for the national suicide and crisis lifeline. It offers call, text, and online chat options to support individuals experiencing mental health and substance use crises.
If needed, 988 users may be connected with a mobile crisis response team. Mobile crisis response teams offer community-based interventions, including triage, assessment, and de-escalation to individuals in need wherever they are, which are more effective and more cost-effective than hospitalization.
Right now, this system is funded by American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) federal funding, which is set to expire in 2025. New Hampshire needs to identify a sustainable funding source for these services to ensure Granite Staters continue to have access to a system of behavioral health care that is comprehensive, robust, integrated, effective, and just.
A 2023 senate bill (SB 85) would create a study commission to determine the best sustainable funding source for behavioral health crisis services in New Hampshire.
SB 85 would also eliminate health insurance preauthorization requirements for emergency behavioral health crisis services. Currently, children and adults who are in crisis may have to wait for preauthorization from their health insurance carrier before emergency crisis stabilization services are covered. It can be costly and dangerous to have to jump through these hoops before seeking out necessary stabilization services.
New Futures supports SB 85 because it takes a step toward establishing sustainable funding for New Hampshire’s behavioral crisis system. It also removes preauthorization requirements, an evidence-based, best-practice intervention demonstrated in national studies to achieve better outcomes for children, adults, and families. Together, these measures will make it easier for Granite Staters to access critical behavioral health crisis services.
SB 85 received unanimous support in the Senate.
Unfortunately, it then received a narrow 10-9, party-line "Inexpedient to Legislate" recommendation from the House Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs Committee.
After many advocates reached out to their State Representatives about the importance of the bill, the House floor overturned the Committee's recommendation and sent it to a second House committee by a wide 271-112 margin!
The House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee had a hearing on May 23. The bill received wide support from those testifying and of folks who signed in online.
Currently, SB 85 has been passed by both the Senate and House and is heading to the Governor's desk.